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February 24, 2022

How many current NFL quarterbacks would be better for the Eagles than Jalen Hurts?

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122621JalenHurts1 Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Hurts will look to avenge his Week 12 loss to the Giants.

The Eagles are faced with a dilemma that will dominate the offseason debate nearly every day until the regular season begins — or until they make a blockbuster trade for a quarterback. 

Do the Eagles build around Jalen Hurts with their three first round picks this April and moderate free agent budget of $20 million? Or do the Birds use that cap space and their stable of picks to trade for someone like Russell Wilson, mimicking the Rams move to get Matthew Stafford that led Los Angeles to a Super Bowl title?

That led us to ask another question. How many current NFL quarterbacks currently would the Eagles rather have than Jalen Hurts and his current situation of playing on his rookie contract?

Here's a quick whip around NFL quarterback rooms to see just how many teams are better off than Philadelphia is under center:

One note — because I am sure everyone and their sister will yell at me for my rankings below — that these take into account play on the field, contract situation and age as well.

The "duh" guys

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
Josh Allen, Bills
Justin Herbert, Chargers
Joe Burrow, Bengals
Kyler Murray, Cardinals
Lamar Jackson, Ravens
Aaron Rodgers, Packers

We won't waste your time on this section. Three of these guys have won MVPs (Mahomes, Jackson, Rodgers). The rest have a legitimate shot at winning one as they are all in their primes right now. The Eagles would obviously prefer these seven quarterbacks. Rodgers could be on the move this spring, but there is little connecting him to Philly.

Moving on.

The veterans who are still better

Matthew Stafford, Rams
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Derek Carr, Raiders

These quarterbacks are without a doubt better than Jalen Hurts. However, they all come with some baggage. Stafford is in his mid-30s, as is Wilson and a decline could be on the horizon. Prescott is exceedingly overpaid and has had injury woes in recent seasons. Carr has gotten some underrated buzz in recent years and, at age 30, could still have some good football ahead — but he's never won a playoff game and is definitely in a tier below the first few guys we mentioned. 

The Eagles would definitely be a better team with any of these four under center, but it's arguable as to whether the QB situation would be better long-term. If you insert one these four guys, do the Eagles win more games? Probably. They make the cut.

DeShaun Watson, Texans

This is its own category because, well, he's in his own category. Watson, baggage aside, is 100% better than Hurts and the Eagles have reportedly toyed with trying to acquire him in the past. But his off field issues currently make him undesirable. For the purposes of this exercise, we are disqualifying him. But obviously, if Watson somehow gets out of his current legal troubles, he'd be among the prior 11 signal-callers.

The young guys who might have more upside

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
Justin Fields, Bears
Trey Lance, 49ers
Zack Wilson, Jets
Mac Jones, Patriots

Are these recent rookies better than Hurts? Maybe not yet. But there are pretty reasonable arguments to be made that these five may have a higher upside than the Eagles' own 23-year-old QB. 

Lawrence will start his second year under the tutelage of Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson. Fields and Lance are both extremely raw, but can throw the ball deep and run the ball pretty well. Leaps in the coming season would be necessary to solidify them as NFL starters. And then there's Wilson, who had a slow start, but actually played well down the stretch despite the putrid play of the lowly Jets team around him. And then Jones, who rode a great defense in New England to a playoff berth, could breakout with a few more years under Bill Belichick.

Right now, we'll pick Hurts and his team-record setting season to be a more desirable fit — but this section is subject to change.

Jalen Hurts is better for the Eagles than...

Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Ryan Tannehill, Titans
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
Matt Ryan, Falcons
Baker Mayfield, Browns
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
Daniel Jones, Giants
Carson Wentz, Colts
Jared Goff, Lions
Davis Mills, Texans

(Six teams are without a starter right now — the Saints, Bucs, Steelers, Broncos, Commanders and Panthers)

The first three guys in this category might be better in a vacuum. But would you want Cousins and his $35 million contract? Tannehill and Garoppolo are both playoff-caliber game managers, but you have to believe Hurts has a higher ceiling than those two. Matt Ryan can still sling the ball, but he's getting close to 40.


Hurts and the Eagles' situation with him — two more years of team control with Hurts being paid under $2 million in each season — would rank Hurts behind just 11 quarterbacks. 

Should the team pull out all the stops to try and replace Hurts with one of the top 11 guys on the list? Howie Roseman will no doubt do everything he can, including potentially drafting a quarterback in the first round, to try and improve the Eagles' quarterback situation for 2023. But it's hard to argue that they are not better off than most other NFL teams at QB right now.

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